5 Tips for Staying Positive During the House Hunt
Buying a new home should be one of the most exciting times of your life, but it can often bring with it more anxiety than you imagined. This is something real estate agents are well prepared to help homebuyers through.
It’s true that there are a lot of things to feel overwhelmed about while you’re hunting for your dream home. Will interest rates take off before we can close the deal? Am I getting ready to buy a house full of hidden problems? How can I be sure that this is really the house for us?
All these questions and more swim around in a new home buyer’s head. There are ways to stay sane! Use this guide to help you navigate the emotions of buying a home taken straight from the experts.
1. Do the Money Bit FIRST, not last.
One thing that separates the home-buying veterans from the rookies is that the experienced people know their budget, know what they can spend, and know what their margins are. In other words, they got pre-approved for their loan first, rather than rushing to the bank after basking in the emotions of that perfect house tour.
Getting your financial ducks in a row helps in a number of ways. Primarily, you’ll be able to know immediately if there is something nasty lurking in your FICO credit score that needs fixing. You will also come away with a strong sense of what your budget looks like and just how much house you can really afford. This will enable you to know whether you can actually bargain with the sale price or not and whether you’ll have money left over for any needed repairs.
Additionally, having all your paperwork done beforehand provides you with a significant advantage in case you happen to want a property that other buyers also want. In a situation where the property is “hot,” you will have the advantage of being ready to sign, instead of having to wait to see if the bank will approve you or not.
2. Work with a Professional Real Estate Agent
If you had a plumbing issue, you’d call a plumber. If you want to make better investments, you count on a professional adviser. So why are you avoiding the use of a real estate agent to help you find your dream home? Real estate agents are often the difference-maker in finding exactly what you’re looking for or suffering disappointment later.
They can also provide important education in the home buying process by explaining terminology you may be unfamiliar with and leveraging their relationships with builders, for example, to get the best deal possible.
A real estate agent can also take the emotion out of bargaining over price and other incentives. Everyone wants the best deal they can get, but few people actually enjoy trying to make that deal happen. A real estate agent can stay cool, calm, and collected while representing your interests, pointing out any issues, and negotiating a satisfactory resolution
3. Pay Attention to the Present but Plan for the Future
Observe and research! No, that particular shade of red the current homeowners have splattered the insides of the house with is not particularly attractive. But paint can be changed. It doesn’t matter if the color is off – it matters if it’s peeling or showing signs of water damage!
Maintenance issues can really take the joy out of a new home, especially if they come as an unwanted surprise! Don’t be distracted by the décor. Pay more attention to the ventilation, the condition of the roof and gutters, and whether there appear to be odd and out-of-place stains.
Additionally, think about whether the house will meet your future needs as well as your current wants. You may not have children now, but if you want them later, your dream home might not be big enough. Plan for the life you have now but leave space for how your life will inevitably develop later.
4. Know What you Want
And then write it down and for goodness’s sake, stick to it! Let yourself dream big at first. But then whittle that list down to your main priorities – and you should be able to count those priorities on one hand! Everything else is a “want.” These are important, too, but it’s important to remember your absolute must-haves.
Having a list will help you once you start touring multiple homes and it feels like everything is beginning to blur. That said, stay flexible. Sometimes there are features homes have that you didn’t know you needed until you are in the process of viewing the home. Technology features and security details don’t often make anyone’s “must-haves,” but homeowners wonder how they ever lived without those features once they have them.
However, don’t be so flexible that you cave in and purchase a property you’re not really in love with. Don’t buy the property with the idea that you’ll just “figure it out later” if it is missing a key must-have from your list. Even when a property market seems white-hot, you can just walk away. There will always be other houses to buy.
5. Expect the Unexpected
Even a brand-new build can turn up inspection issues if the builder hasn’t been careful. It seems there are always unexpected expenses, no matter how smooth the transaction has been up to the final days of closing. The Unexpected is what contributes to that roller coaster feeling of buying a home.
There is anxiety at every stage. What will the home inspection turn up? Will the seller accept our lower offer? Again, having a key ally in your real estate agent will help you figure out how to ride the highs and the lows in this process.
Your agent can help you work out your counteroffer and decide when to walk away and when to plow ahead.
Whether your home buying experience is a blessing or a curse is entirely within your control. If you take control of the experience, you will not be led by your emotions into a home you cannot afford, or which has too many maintenance issues for you to keep up with.
Be patient and trust your real estate agent to walk you through the process. Soon enough, you’ll be kicking back in your new home and telling other potential home buyers your stories!